By: Victor Methos
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 1/26/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
For high-powered personal injury attorney Noah Byron, the good things in life come with a price tag—cars, houses, women. That’s why he represents only cases that come with the possibility of a nice cut of the action. But as a favor to his ex-wife, he meets with the mother of twelve-year-old Joel, a boy poisoned by tainted children’s medicine. While the official story is that a psycho tampered with bottles, the boy’s mother believes something much more sinister is at work…and the trail leads right back to the pharmaceutical company.
As Noah digs deeper into the case, he quickly finds himself up against a powerful corporation that will protect itself at any cost. He also befriends young Joel and breaks the number one rule of personal injury law: don’t make it personal. Faced with the most menacing of opponents and the most vulnerable of clients, Noah is determined to discover the truth and win justice for Joel—even if it means losing everything else.
A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Victor Methos returns following Neon Lawyer, with AN INVISIBLE CLIENT, A high-powered personal injury attorney Noah Byron—a fight against a pharmaceutical giant, breaking his number one rule by making it personal—Noah is determined to fight for justice, for a twelve-year-old boy, putting his career and everything he has worked for, on the line.
"Justice will not come until those who are not injured are as outraged as those who are." --Solon, 560BC
A David versus Goliath ---Food manufacturers have a formula to determine where we should live or die. Every bite of food we eat is like rolling a pair of dice. And the pharmaceutical giants. Do they protect or harm?
Unfortunately, under the law, a consumer's value equaled the amount of money that person could have earned in a lifetime, had he or she lived. If the calculation of damages in all the wrongful death lawsuits was greater that the cost of a recall, the manufacturer would recall the product. If the settlements would cost the company less than the recall, then they just ignored the defect.
Noah Byron, a name he chose, after leaving his abusive alcoholic father behind, now a high powered attorney--the head of a growing firm of personal injury lawyers. In an office of twenty-three attorneys and a robust support staff-- Noah Byron started the firm, Bryon, Val, and Keller and in ten years they had become one of the top plaintiff’s personal injury firms in the state of Utah. They had to pick winning cases and the second cardinal sin—do not get emotionally attached.
Under the law, a person was valued at exactly how much money that person could earn. Anyone who hadn’t gone into an Ivy League school, pulled in at least six figures, or had a family business waiting for them was what PI lawyers called “an invisible client” —one who lived and breathed but didn’t officially exist. They did not do invisible clients. The solo practitioners could fight over them.
His ex-wife calls to inform him she is remarrying and asks for a favor. Her cousin Rebecca’s son is sick. Joel Whiting (Herba-Cough Max) victim. From the whole Pharma Killer thing, some psychopath had laced children’s cough medicine with cyanide. Three kids in Salt Lake County had gotten extremely ill, but none had died. Again, Noah’s first thought…the guy would have no money. It would not be worth it.
The boy, Joel was only twelve years old, and the mother was full of anger --she needed someone to talk to. His ex-wife counted on him and believed in him, even though his life was over with her…the kids, grandkids, birthdays and graduations were now a part of her next life with her new husband.
When meeting with Rebecca regarding the situation, she thinks there is something fishy about Pharma-K, and they are covering it up. She thinks this was company negligence, and a cover-up, not some psycho lacing the medicine.
He needed proof. Her boy had been one of the unfortunate ones to suffer because of some sick maniac and she needed to blame someone. She wants him to sue. Sue them so they could never hurt another child. The cops would have to be involved, employees, and investigative journalists? Her son was dying and in renal failure and on the transplant list. The cyanide was not enough to kill him but it did a lot of damage and they would not give him a transplant, even after calling the governor.
She was asking him to take on a case that they would likely lose. He tries to tell her the firm cannot help. She begs him to just talk to them to see what they say. She pulled the family guilt card. He was her last resort and he agreed to talk to them.
His partner thought the case might be a good idea. Maybe a settlement if they were spooked. The most unique part of their company was what they termed their Pharma Future program, a division of the R&D department that hired the top minds graduating from pharmacy schools and chemistry programs around the world, and dumped money on them to come up with new drugs.
He meets the boy and learns his father died in Iraq. A dying boy, who’s as American as apple pie. What jury couldn’t resist him? Even if liability wasn’t clear, if he could get Joel into the courtroom and put him in front of a jury to talk about the pain he’d gone through, to tell the jury about the needles they had to stick into him four times a week and the nightmares…the jury might go for it and give him whatever he asked for.
His kidneys were damaged beyond repair and his liver was damaged as well. Also damage to the heart and lungs that may not even manifest right away. The doctors are unsure of the time he has left. Stage V renal failure – the clock was ticking, and they had to worry about heart failure. He had to settle the case. Noah wanted to fight. He wanted to go to trial. His partners want to take him off the case. If they settled no one would be punished for what happened.
From confusion, vomiting, sleepiness, fatigue, inability to expend energy, migraines, blood in the stool or vomit. Each person had received the same reply, “please return the unused portion to us, and a full refund will be issued.” That way it could not be tested. A system set up to protect those giants.
A little boy pulls on his heart’s strings. His new relationship with Olivia—her haunted past, and his.. "The people are the power, not the money." Olivia begged him to help. He had worked his whole life to be in a place to help people like Rebecca and Joel. Illegal, corruption, cover-ups-- a gamble and he is willing to do whatever it takes.
Monsters: Noah soon learns his father may have been a monster; however, at least he was honest. He is finding there are worse monsters in the world, hiding in broad daylight. Those who put on smiles, shake your hand, and call you their friend. They care nothing about goodness, people or the future. The monsters are not under beds, they are out in the open pretending to be there to help.
Everyone warns him to detach and focus on the money. He is determined to win this case. They worked on contingency, and may not see the money back for eighteen months or more. He sees the Pharma-K guys as scumbags. They hurt children and do not care. People who were supposed to be watching out for consumers were actually the consumer’s biggest threat.
The closer Noah becomes to Joel, the more personal the case becomes. Noah gets creative, and will stop at nothing to bring justice. He does not want this to happen again, he wants plants closed, a foundation, plus he wants to help the other sick kids, better evaluation of products, punitive damages, and to investigate consumer-protection laws. He wants Federal Court --JUSTICE.
Plus in the midst of the drama, Olivia, the new lawyer, and his new partner in crime and a possible new love interest, makes things more interesting.
Having enjoyed Neon Lawyer, Victor Methos delivers another dynamic legal thriller with a flawed main protagonist engulfed in a case-- and knows his way around a courtroom with enough personal and professional mix to make for a compelling read. As a former whistleblower, a huge fan of the underdog-- love bringing the big bad boys down!
Legal thriller fans of Adam Mitzner, Scott Pratt, and John Grisham's Gray Mountain will enjoy, as well as Erin Brockovich, and medical/science dramas.
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About the Author
Victor Methos is the author of several thrillers including The Neon Lawyer and the Sarah King Mysteries. A fluent speaker of several Middle Eastern languages, he studied science, philosophy, and religion at the University of Utah before attending law school. He’s worked as a prosecutor specializing in violent crime and is currently a criminal defense attorney. Methos divides his time between San Diego, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City. Website
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